Entertainment Rights Platform Rightsline Acquires Real Software Systems

Rightsline, a rights and finance management platform for the media and entertainment industry, has acquired Real Software Systems.

The move extends Rightsline’s core IP rights management services to fully support end-to-end financial and royalties workflows while simultaneously expanding its market from media and entertainment into gaming, publishing, consumer products, life sciences and high tech, among other global industries, according to the company.

“Before this acquisition, Rightsline was already the established leader for managing Hollywood’s global IP rights,” Patrick Arkeveld, CEO of Rightsline, said in a statement. “With this acquisition, we’ve assembled a product suite designed to manage the entire lifecycle of IP monetization for nearly any company, in any industry, anywhere in the world.”

Rightline’s entertainment customers include nearly every major studio and streaming platform, according to the company.

Since its founding in 1993, Real Software Systems has grown to become a leading provider of IP commerce software globally, with its Alliant platform managing more than $12 billion in royalties annually across multiple industries. Alliant automates the contractual rights, royalties accounting, revenue-sharing and profit sharing of more than 70 companies with a wide range of underlying IP.

“We’re incredibly proud of Real’s success as software engine builders and pioneers in the IP Commerce space,” Real CEO Kent Sahin said in a statement. “We’re equally proud to be teaming up with Rightsline to fulfill a longstanding goal of providing a comprehensive, unified, and flexible platform for IP commerce businesses. We’re confident that our combined team and product offerings will do just that.”

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Real’s clients span pharmaceutical and life science firms including Gilead and Merck; tech leaders including Dell and Infor; game creators such as EA and Ubisoft; publishers such as Getty Images and Thomson Reuters; media and entertainment leaders such as Legendary and MGM; and consumer-focused companies such as Hallmark and American Greetings.

“The wide range of industries using Real’s Alliant platform reflects two essential takeaways,” Rightsline chief revenue officer Kira Baca said in a statement. “First, it shows that the Alliant platform is highly adaptable to customers’ unique business models. And second, it underscores just how critical monetizing IP rights and managing royalties are across the entire economy. Whether you’re in life sciences, consumer products, gaming, or entertainment, effectively managing the IP lifecycle provides an increasingly essential competitive edge in today’s information economy.”

The integration of Rightsline’s and Real’s systems will provide expanded capabilities for existing customers, including BBC Studios, AMC and the Public Broadcasting Service, according to a press release. Seamless data exchange and complementary feature build-outs will provide operational efficiencies to teams already using both Rightsline and Alliant, allowing them to replace time-consuming, multi-system workflows with higher value strategic activities, according to the press release.

“Combining Rightsline and Alliant from a product standpoint allows us to bring to market the first truly horizontally-integrated IP Commerce platform supporting robust Contract Lifecycle Management functions, availability and library maximization algorithms, as well as the myriad complexities of IP-based financial calculations on a scale never before achieved,” Rightsline chief technology officer Matt Bricker said in a statement. “We have been signaling our commitment to unify the IP supply chain by focusing on increasing our financial capabilities. This transaction demonstrates the reality and scope of that commitment.”

In November 2020, Rightsline was acquired by Klass Capital, a Toronto-based investment firm, in a majority transaction. 

The terms of Rightsline’s acquisition of Real were not disclosed. Real’s employees will join Rightsline.

TiVo, TCL Expand Intellectual Property Relationship

TiVo Jan. 21 announced a multiyear extension and expansion of its IP agreement with TCL, a consumer electronics brand and technology company.

TiVo, which helped invent the digital video recorder (DVR), has over the years invested in research and development to create software licensed to the media and entertainment industry. TiVo’s innovations make it easier for viewers to find, watch and store content across a multitude of platforms.

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“We believe this agreement further demonstrates the continued relevance of our IP portfolio in the consumer electronics space,” Samir Armaly, president of IP licensing of TiVo corporate parent Xperi, said in a statement. “The licenses provided under our expanded agreement will enable TCL to continue delivering the very best experience for its customers, even as the television industry undergoes rapid transformation and change.”

TiVo over the years has been embroiled in litigation with Comcast, Microsoft and Verizon, among others, as the market for digital entertainment distribution rapidly evolves and changes.

Jonathan King, VP of corporate and legal affairs with TCL, said the agreement with TiVo underscores the company’s commitment to recognizing patents.

“This expanded agreement further demonstrates TCL’s commitment and respect for intellectual property as we continue introducing industry-leading features and capabilities for our loyal users,” King said.

TiVo Narrows Q2 Fiscal Loss

DVR pioneer TiVo is in the process of transitioning its hardware and intellectual property (i.e. patents) into separate operating businesses.

In the meantime, the current combined company continues to right its fiscal ship — narrowing the second-quarter (ended June 30) net loss nearly 54% to $9.54 million from a net loss of $20.5 million during the previous-year period.

Total revenue increased nearly 2% to $176.1 million from $172.8 million last year. Through the first six months of the fiscal year, TiVo revenue is down about 8% at $334.4 million from $362.6 million.

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The bulk of revenue comes from TiVo’s portfolio of IP patents enabling third-party pay-TV operators to offer subscribers on-demand content, video recording, content recommendation and related viewership data.

Indeed, TiVo said it has expanded its third-party advertising functionality to include promotions surrounding VOD movie transactions.

 

The company said promo campaigns deliver strong performance results, including an 81% increase in digital transactions for a Hollywood studio using the software over three weekends to promote a new movie title.

Licensing, services and software revenue increased 3% to $174.4 million, while hardware sales fell about 50% to $1.67 million.

CEO Dave Shull said TiVo remains on track to separate the businesses.

“Based on my experience with strategic transactions and operational transformations, we are making great progress on the separation of TiVo’s Product and IP Licensing businesses,” Shull said in a statement. “We remain on track to complete the separation in the first half of 2020.”